What do you think of when someone mentions Mid-Autumn Festival? Do you picture Moon cakes or colourful lanterns? Let’s dive into what the mid-autumn festival really is.
As myth has it, several thousand years ago, Chang’e was a beautiful and kind woman, and her husband Hou Yi was a brilliant archer. During a time, when there were 10 suns, the Earth could not endure the smouldering heat. So, Hou Yi shot down 9 of the 10 suns, leaving behind just one.
Hou Yi was respected as the Earth’s hero and received an elixir of immortality from the Queen Mother of the West as a reward for saving the Earth. However, Hou Yi didn’t want to gain immortality without his beloved wife. So, he let Chang’e keep the elixir with her.
One day, someone tried to steal the elixir when Hou Yi wasn’t home. In order to protect the elixir from the evil person, Chang’e ate the elixir of immortality. Then she flew to the moon and became the Moon Godness, leaving her husband behind. That night, the moon was extremely bright and Hou Yi caught sight of a swaying figure that looked exactly like Chang’e.
Since that day, the people from their village would lay out Chang’e’s favourite dishes to bless her. Today, on 15th of August each year, it has been known as the Mid-Autumn Festival for people to look forward to reunions.
The Mid-Autumn Festival has spread all over the world, each country has its own special way of celebrating! Let’s take a look at the different meanings, names, and traditions of the Mid-Autumn Festival around Asian countries.
Chinese Malaysians also keep the traditional Mid-Autumn Festival customs, by gathering on this day to celebrate the festival. They also offer moon cakes, taro, and pomelo as offerings to the moon. In addition, some organizations will also hold Mid-Autumn celebrations or parties to celebrate the festival with the public. Children will carry lanterns, burn candles and even play “stir-fry leaves” during the day.
2. Hong Kong
Hong Kong attaches great importance to Mid-Autumn Festival. Every Mid-Autumn Festival, various moon cake boxes are gifted. An assortment of flavours, the exquisite designs on the gift box are some of the reasons, this delicacy special during this season. In Hong Kong, people like to gather on this day to enjoy watching the full moon, the unique Fire Dragon Dancing and carrying lanterns. The Fire Dragon Dance has been a traditional custom in Tai Hang, Hong Kong for over a hundred years. It attracts people to visit it every year.
Taiwan’s Mid-Autumn Festival retains the custom of worship, in addition to praying to the gods and ancestors, they will also pray to the moon during this festival. Usually, they use the pomelo fruit to pray and children will wear the pomelo skin on their heads to symbolize “keeping the children safe”. Therefore, the Taiwanese usually eat pomelo to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival. In addition, Taiwanese also like to spend the Mid-Autumn night with barbecue and moon watching, which forms the unique culture of Taiwan.
Japan’s Mid-Autumn festival is also called “Jugoya”. They do not have mooncakes, but “Tsukimi Dango”. Tsukimi Dango is made of glutinous rice and is usually filled with mashed red beans or bean powder. It is usually offered as a sacrifice to the gods to thank them for their good harvest. Children are also referred to as “Moon Thieves,” to snatch sacrifices on this night. The more they steal, the more fortunate they will be.
5. South Korea
South Korea’s Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as “Chuseok”, is a big day in South Korea, and they will have 3 days of holiday. They also gather their family members on the day to worship ancestors, visit tombs, celebrate the harvest, and enjoy the full moon while eating traditional food called “Songpyeon”. The Songpyeon is normally made of glutinous rice and filled with sesame seeds, soybeans, red beans, and chestnuts.
The Vietnamese Mid-Autumn Festival is also known as the “Full moon festival”. According to custom, the Vietnamese are not just observing the moon, but also trying to predict what the coming year will be like. If the moon is yellowish, it means that the next year will bring a good harvest. If it is bluer, it means that natural disasters may occur. In addition, the Mid-Autumn Festival is also Vietnam’s “Children’s Day”, parents and elders will prepare carp lanterns for children, and enjoy the lion dance performance, is a day for children to have fun.
Cambodia’s Mid-Autumn Festival, is also known as the “worship the moon festival”. Local people will pray to the moon with flowers, cassava soup, flat rice, and sugar cane water as offerings. The elder also will put flat rice into the child’s mouth, meaning full of happiness.
The Thai Mid-Autumn Festival also has the custom of worshipping the moon, also known as “praying for the moon festival”. They believe that during Mid-Autumn Festival, the eight immortals will take the peach cake to the Moon Palace for the birthday of Guanyin Bodhisattva, and Guanyin will give the blessing to the world. Therefore, Thai people will prepare peach cakes, moon cakes, and other offerings to Guanyin Bodhisattva to get blessings.
From the above ways of celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival, we can see that we have retained the custom of worshipping the moon, and will prioritize the importance of family reunions on this day. Do you want to invite family and friends to your home but are still worried about the problem of space? Contact us now!
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